In the world of public relations, dull moments don’t exist. PR specialists are either busy telling the world how great their clients are…or they are busy trying to clean up a complete disaster. Having to do the latter is called “crisis communication”; this involves the collection, processing and dissemination of information that is required to address a crisis. A simple “sorry” won’t always cut it and ignoring it/remaining silent until the situation dies down isn’t exactly ideal, either. So, what does one do when addressing a crisis?
Be Proactive, Transparent and Communicative
The very first thing you should do as a PR specialist/firm is to apologize and take any accountability on behalf of your client. While you may not have a plan in action or know all of the answers, you should still communicate to the public letting them know that you are in the process of finding out what went wrong and that you will be working on fixing it. Address any concerns with empathy and integrity; remember that authenticity is key, here. The absolute worst thing you can do at this moment is to ignore the problem in hopes that public outrage will fizzle out or sweep things under the rug. Idealism doesn’t work in the PR world.
Manage All Platforms
Make sure that your audience is aware that you are working on resolving a crisis across all platforms, both online and in real-time. Try and secure positive pieces of media coverage and work to engage with the digital community on social media; develop an empowering statement for your team to use universally should they be questioned. Remember that one of the key factors in crisis communication and management is to always control the situation.
Come Up with A Solution
So you’ve already taken accountability, you’ve controlled the narrative, and you’ve communicated thoroughly with the public. Now is the time when you, your team and your client come together and develop a solution to the problem. While this is easier said than done, and while there is no one-size-fits-all solution to every crisis, it’s important that the resolution process is meticulous and well-thought-out.
If handled correctly a crisis can make your firm stronger. How a firm bounces back from a crisis can be considered more crucial that how a firm handles one.